City Desk

The Dismemberment Plan

A dull Swiss army knife does not slice through penis foreskin like butter. That might have been the freakiest thing about last night's art performance by Adrian Parsons—why, if you've chosen this path, would you not invest in the finest in self-mutilation technology? Why saw when you could slice? Maybe there's no singling out any one freaky thing about "Shrapnel," a performance in which Parsons removed his own foreskin and stuffed it into a glory hole in the wall at The Warehouse. The performance was staged for "Supple", a group show of otherwise modest painting and sculpture. Hope you caught Parsons's act of auto-circumcision last night, since he won't be repeating it.

Warning: If I didn't mention it before, this guy circumcises himself in this video, so don't watch it if you don't want to see that or if your boss is looming over your shoulder.

Update: Someone cried foul, and YouTube responded by removing the video, citing a copyright violation. But I shot the video myself, and both the artist and curator seem fine with my posting it, so we'll do it our-damn-selves. Oh, and Parsons is fine, by the way—after the hospital, he even managed to avoid a layover at the psych ward.

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  • Jim

    "modest painting and sculpture"??? Dude you're becoming a hopeless, negaholic, nothing's-ever-good-art-critic like the rest of the art scribes who pass for modest critics around this town.

  • http://N/A Thomas McCulloch

    The actual performance of that was laughable. It wasen't thought through as we see by his statement at the end. "...the holes too small." It seemed like it was scarification for scarification's sake. For others in that realm like Franco B that manage to create a atmosphere and interest in what they perform this guy should be taking tips. I'm also left pondering what the point is? Is there some sort of queer theory at work against a stereotype gay persona?


  • margo

    How utterly boring. Seriously.

  • d

    Jim, I think modest here means penis-free.

  • Foreskin

    I did this in '71 in Berlin and again in Oslo two years later.

  • suzi

    Kriston: I happen to think you are a great reporter. I was worried that you were going to give this senseless act of destruction more weight than it deserves. Yes the rest of the show was filled with modest painting and sculpture. Fine words for just a modest showing of some well known artists. So Adrian Parsons has his artistic merit badge now. There it is hanging on the wall, every one knows his name now. BFD

  • Anonymous

    Kriston: you're my hero. I wish we could be best friends IRL. You're in my prayers and those of my family.

  • DC1974

    Awesome. I wish I had been there. This will be his Chris Burden moment. That will in video look uninteresting, but will resonate and define his work.

  • brandnewPP

    I think when he said modest, it was not directed at the quality or kind of work, but that the "modest" works did not contain live genitals and live genital mutilation. i was there- it was hard to watch.

  • Kasper

    Is Adrian Parsons an American?
    If so, how old is he now and how old was he at the time of this performance?

    If he's American, I'd be surprised he wasn't circumcised...

  • Dick Skinner

    Adrian was very brave in committing this act some might say of masochism. It definitely has an erotic and artistic element. It is thought provoking which good art shoud engender. Ironic too that he used a Swiss army knife - the best working man's tool there is - but one the Swiss don't use for circumcision as it is pratically unknow in Switzerland. The circumcision was done to help further Adrian's career and, to his mind at little expense, since he does not value his foreskin (which is fine). It then becomes a commentary on all the millions of foreskins cut off for not much more reason than aesthetics and no doubt to line the pockets
    of urologists.

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  • Mike Sanders

    This guy is a complete moron and certainly NOT an artist in any way, shape or form. He should have been committed, this guy needs some serious psychological help URGENTLY.